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Monkey King
Sold To Private Collection

Antique Chinese Gilt Wood
Monkey King
Journey To The West
Chinese. Circa: 19th century
H 8.5" (21cm.), W 3" (7.5cm.), D 3.5" (9cm.)

Condition : Good, gilt loss

This 19th century carving is a fanciful glorification of His Excellency the Monkey God in resplendent royal attire meticulously ornamented with delicate floral and cloud motifs and wearing elegant black boots. With dignified formality he assumes an imperial stance, his left foot poised on a cloud, long simian fingers raised in a salute; his right hand rests on his hip and may have held an attribute. The base is carved with a lotus and spiraling leaf forms, and the piece wears its gilding lacily over a black lacquer ground. No chips or losses of wood.

The status of the monkey in Buddhism is not unequivocal, for although he may be thought ugly and deceitful, nevertheless he is worshipped popularly for his power to drive away evil and sorcery and to bestow health, protection and success. The monkey was worshipped first in India, where an emissary of a Tang Dynasty Emperor had been dispatched to obtain the Sacred Books of the Buddhist religion. In this quest he was aided by a monkey and in gratitude the emperor bestowed upon the monkey the title of “Great Sage Equal to Heaven.” and “His Excellency, the Holy King,“ whose birthday is celebrated by all classes of society on the 23rd day of the second Chinese month.

  
  
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